Thursday, November 15, 2007

462 midterm #2

Here's the 2nd midterm for Russian History, on which you are free to use all the resources at your disposal. You will hand it in at the final, because you can't study for the final. If that makes any sense, which I'm sure it does not at the moment...the final is a state secret.

History 462
Imperial Russia
2nd Midterm—to be handed in December ll, 2007, at the final because


Choose ONE of the following and write a brilliant, literate essay, incorporating material from readings, lecture, websites, video personal explorations, etc.

1)We have seen, and you have written on, the wrenching makeover of parts of Russia into a western-oriented state in the l8th century. The transfer of the capital to St. Petersburg, the making of “new people” and the Catherinian mad purchase of western art for the Hermitage all testify to this fact. In the l9th century, however, we have seen the pendulum swing back towards celebrating specifically Russian language, Russian countryside, Russian culture. Discuss the factors behind this change, and explain how this change was manifested, using evidence that you personally find most interesting(this is, again, a VERY broad topic).

2)Russians are acutely conscious of their history—for good reason—and therefore take great care with remembrances. Write an essay in which you discuss two or three major historical events between 1703 and l9l4 and how Russians chose to commemorate them on the country’s physical and/or cultural landscape.

3) One of the problems with monarchy is that sometimes you get a Peter or Catherine the Great, and other times you get a Paul I or Nicholas II. As Forrest Gump says of his box of chocolates, “you just never know what you’re going to get.” What accounts for Nicholas’s reign being so difficult and problematic from his coronation in l896 to the outbreak of war in l9l4? Use the Radzinsky book on Nicholas in the composition of your answer—he has great insight into this man, who was—tellingly—born on the feast day of Job(!).

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